Hong Kong, 8 July 2020 (dpa/MIA) – An unannounced opening ceremony took place on Wednesday morning at a hotel in Hong Kong for Beijing’s new Office for Safeguarding National Security.
The inauguration comes a week after China imposed its controversial national security law on the territory.
The headquarters at MetroPark Hotel, which is opposite the popular protest hotspot Victoria Park, will be the centre of operations for managing the enforcement of the law which targets secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam spoke at the ceremony, which took place around 7:20 am (1120 GMT), calling the unveiling a “historic moment.”
“We are witnessing another milestone in the establishment of a sound legal system and enforcement mechanism for the maintenance of national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China,” Lam said.
Dozens of top officials were in attendance, including the office’s new director Zheng Yanxiong, Hong Kong-China liaison officials and commanders from the People’s Liberation Army.
The new law, which came into force on July 1, has sent shockwaves through the city and the international community, with some 27 countries including Britain and the US urging China to scrap it.
Hong Kong was guaranteed autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework until 2047, fifty years after the territory was returned to China from British rule in 1997. However, many believe that the national security law has voided the framework completely.